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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Update
October 10, 2001



Here are the latest developments on the road to a strong,
mandatory Ontarians with Disabilities Act:

* On September 28, 2001, Citizenship Minister Cam Jackson wrote to the ODA Committee (see text of his letter or refer below for copy and paste of text). He thanks the ODA Committee for sending its detailed proposal for the ODA's contents to each member of the Legislature. He looks forward to our meeting to discuss the forthcoming legislation. We are now trying to finalize a date for the meeting, which hopefully will occur in the next two or three weeks.

* On Monday, October 1, 2001, during a debate in the Ontario Legislature concerning the International Day of Older Persons, NDP MPP Shelley Martel pointed out steps that the Government could take to assist older persons. She included the need to pass the promised ODA. See excerpt below or follow this link.

* On Wednesday, October, 3, 2001, during a debate in the Ontario Legislature on an unrelated piece of legislation, Liberal MPP Steve Peters, the former Liberal Disability Critic, reviewed a list of broken promises by the Harris Government. Among these was the 1995 promise to enact the ODA. See excerpt below or follow this link.

* In the Wednesday, October 10, 2001, London Free Press, an excellent letter by ODA supporter Terry Smith was published. It praised the city of London for recently adopting new standards on accessibility for persons with disabilities, and urged the Ontario Government to do the same through the passage of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. See this letter below. Congratulations to ODA supporters and others in the London area for getting that new policy adopted at the municipal level.

* A public event on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be held in the Peel-Mississauga area on Friday, November 9, 2001 in connection with the Knights of Columbus organization. ODA Peel Regional Contact Chris Portelli will be speaking. See the announcement below. Please circulate it to people in that region who might be interested.

* In response to our letter on the ODA to each member of the Legislature, we have received written responses from three MPPs so far. See the letters below from Conservatives Elizabeth Witmer and Frank Klees, and from Liberal David Caplan.

There are now but 44 days until the November 23, 2001 deadline
for a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act to be
introduced, debated and passed into law. The Ontario Legislature
unanimously fixed this deadline two years ago, with full support
of the Harris Government.


Ministry of Citizenship
6th Floor
400 University Avenue
Toronto ON M7A 2R9

September 28, 2001

David Lepofsky
c/o Marg Thomas
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto ON M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Lepofsky:

Thank you for your letter dated September 19th regarding my
earlier invitation to arrange a meeting. Please be assured that
no apology for any delay is needed.

As indicated in my letter of June 27th, it was a pleasure to
speak with you, Mr. Malkowski and Ms. Riback about the need for
disability legislation, and I look forward to meeting again to
discuss further details about some of the points that were raised
at that meeting.

Thank you, as well, for enclosing a copy of your letter to my
colleagues in the legislature and the attached brief submitted by
the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee dated April 22,
1998. I have, of course, already studied in detail the thoughtful
brief submitted by your committee, and know that my colleagues
will appreciate the valuable background that your material

I look forward to your support of the proposed disability
legislation that will be introduced this fall.

Thank you again for writing to share information, and to confirm
that you will be contacting my staff at (416) 325-6218 regarding
arranging a meeting.


Cam Jackson

c: The Honourable Michael D. Harris, Premier


Ontario Hansard Monday, October 1, 2001

(During statements regarding International Day of Older Persons)

Ms Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): It's a pleasure, on behalf of
the New Democratic Party caucus, to pay tribute to Ontario's
seniors today, the International Day of Older Persons, and it is
fitting that in a very public way we salute the enormous
contribution they have made to Ontario life. Through many years
of work and commitment, they have built the public institutions
like hospitals, like schools, like colleges and universities,
which are so important to the quality of life in Ontario. We
salute these seniors, and we urge them to continue to do the
important work they do in our communities, providing expertise,
providing knowledge, providing support to so many agencies, boards and
commissions right across our communities.

But it would be remiss on my part -- indeed, I think I would be
negligent --if I didn't spend some time today pointing out how
recent and not-so-recent decisions by this government really
undermine the quality of life of seniors in our province. ...
Finally, Minister, if you really wanted to do something,
especially since you promised you would do this in 1995 -- a
specific promise made by your Premier -- you would bring forward
an Ontarians with Disabilities Act to truly protect disabled
seniors in the province of Ontario.


Ontario Hansard Wed., October 3, 2001 Evening
(During debate on Improving Customer Service for Road Users Act, 2001)

Mr Peters: I won't be supporting this legislation, and I think we
need to be conscious of what this government has done with the
privatization of services in this province. This government
constantly stands up and praises the great things that they're
doing with the privatization of services, but who's the first to
sound the alarm bell when it comes to the privatization of
services? It's the Provincial Auditor. The auditor in his 1999
report showed that the privatization of highways had not saved
any money and may ultimately result in significant increases in
the cost of highway maintenance. What we're going to see out of
this privatization is higher costs and less service for the good
citizens of this province.

We've seen some of the other effects and where this government's
agenda is taking us when it comes to privatization. We're seeing
the direction that the government has gone with the jails. We've
seen where they're going with air ambulances. We've seen the
drastic effect on this province of the implementation of
privatization and what's happened in Walkerton.


This government talks -- they're up touting the Blueprint and
promises made and everything else -- but let's cite some promises
made and promises not kept that have had a direct impact on the
citizens of this province. A promise made in 1995: no cuts to
agriculture. In July 1995, right after the election, $14 million
right out of the budget of agriculture. Boom, just like that.

On May 24, 1995, Mike Harris promises in writing, "We will
implement an Ontarians with disabilities act." Well, we're still
waiting. The clock is ticking.


London Free Press Wed., Oct. 10, 2001
Letters to the Editor

City accessibility plan greeted with approval

Congratulations to London city council for unanimously passing
the Facilities Accessibility Design Standards document. It sets
standards that will remove most barriers for the disabled
community in the future.

It is reassuring the present city council has the vision to
ensure all future city buildings and properties will be
accessible to all Londoners. This is an important step to making
London an inclusive city.

My hope is the provincial government will follow this direction
and pass a strong, effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act in
November. However, before that, they should hold open barrier-
free public hearings on the contents of this bill, in order to
give all Ontarians an opportunity to voice their valued opinions.

Rest assured, other communities will look toward London for
direction and we should be proud of this.

Terry Smith


Upcoming ODA Event in the Mississauga Area

Have you, a loved one or someone you know been touched by a
disability or illness, which rendered them unable to fulfil a
normal life within Ontario?

If you answered yes to the above question then come out on:

Friday, November 9. From 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

At Erin Meadows Community Centre, corner of Erin Centre Drive and
Glen Erin Drive-connected to St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School.

Find out why we and all of Ontario would benefit from an
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

An ODA would not only benefit the disabled community but also the
abled one as it would save time, money and aggravation for all.

This forum will include information on:

- When the ODA movement began
- Why it is needed
- Who is responsible for the enactment of it
- Where the three provincial parties stand.
- How you can help to secure the ODA

Guest speaker will be Chris Portelli, the Peel, Halton, Dufferin
O.D.A. representative.

For more information please contact:

Brother Ray Bechard: 905-569-1422

Brother Chris Portelli: 905-826-0340

Event sponsored by: The Knights of Columbus Councils of


Hon. Elizabeth Witmer
Minister of the Environment
12th Floor
135 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto ON M4V 1P5
Tel (416) 314-6790
Fax (416) 314-6748

September 28, 2001

Mr. M. David Lepofsky, C.M.
Chair, ODA Committee
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto ON M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Lepofsky

Thank you for your letter dated September 18, 2001 regarding a
new disability legislation to be introduced into the Legislature
this fall.

I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to send your comments
and information to me and shall be mindful of your input.


Elizabeth Witmer, MPP


Oak Ridges

October 1, 2001

Mr. David Leposky, C.M.
Chair, ODA Committee
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Leposky,

Thank you for your letter of September 18, 2001 regarding
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

I appreciate the forwarded material and your input on this
important legislation and can assure you that I have noted your
concerns and will give them my consideration.

Kindest regards,

Frank Klees, M.P.P.
Oak Ridges


Legislative Assembly
Queen's Park Office
Main Legislative Building
Toronto Ontario
M7A 1A4

September 28, 2001

Mr. David Lepofsky, C.M.
Chair, ODA Committee
Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
1929 Bayview Ave.
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

Dear Mr. Lepofsky:

I want to thank you for writing to me regarding a strong and
effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

I found the information you provided to be very informative. If
you have any other material you would like to forward to my
please do so.

My colleague Mr. Ernie Parsons M.P.P. and Liberal Critic for the
Disabled has been very supportive of strong and effective ODA. I
want to assure you that I am supportive of your efforts and will
continue to be.

Again, thank you for writing to me regarding the ODA.


David Caplan M.P.P.
Don Valley East


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